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  ISO 14001 And Other Environmental Specs
  4.4.4 EMS Documentation

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Author Topic:   4.4.4 EMS Documentation
Randy
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Posts: 264
From:Barstow, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 31 July 2001 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randy   Click Here to Email Randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK guys I hate to admit it but I'm stumped. I'm trying to explain what this clause means to someone who needs to do an internal audit to it. I can't find the right words. I know what I look for but I'm having trouble conveying the message.

4.4.4 Environmental management system documentation The organization shall establish and maintain information, in paper or electronic form, to
a) describe the core elements of the management system and their interaction
b) provide direction to related documentation

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

[This message has been edited by Randy (edited 31 July 2001).]

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PD
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From:Australia
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 01 August 2001 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Randy

I tend to explain 4.4.4 by saying that it provides a "road map" to end users to help them navigate through the system and find what they are looking for. It can be as simple as an index or as complex as an electronic based nagivational tool complete with hyperlinks etc. Hope this helps. Did you get my email?

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goose
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From:nc
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02 August 2001 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for goose   Click Here to Email goose     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with PD. This clause sort of "walks" one through your processes. We addressed it by just paraphrasing the requirements for each section and identifying our relevant procedures.

A matrix or cross reference would work also.

In any event this approach withstood a doc.review by our registrar.


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Randy
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From:Barstow, CA, USA
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posted 02 August 2001 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randy   Click Here to Email Randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK guys, how about a couple of audit questions other than the ones below.......

4.4.4a Does the organization have and maintain information (in paper or electronic form) to describe the core elements of the management system and their interaction?

4.4.4b Does the organization have and maintain information (in paper or electronic form) to provide direction to related documentation?

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goose
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From:nc
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02 August 2001 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for goose   Click Here to Email goose     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Other than beginning with "How does......," your questions are almost identical to questions from Registrars' checklist.Think if an auditor sees something that provides direction to what's available in the EMS system he/she will be ok with it.

Good luck

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PD
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From:Australia
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 03 August 2001 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I tend to audit checklists from an end users point of view (after all, no matter how good your system is, at the end of the day you are totally reliant on people). I am not very fond of questions which simply regurgitate the exact requirement of the standard. Rather, I look for the intent behind the clause and build questions around it.

Off the top of my head (and I have just had a glass of cheeky chardonnay - Australian of course), I might consider these questions:

1. How do people find relevant information in your system (procedures, forms etc)?

2. Is your "navigational tool in hard copy or electronic format? Describe it.

I would then pick on a couple of different users, figure out what info they need to find (especially info that they don't use regularly like incident reports or emergency response procedures) and get them to locate the info. Naturally, this could be very straightforward or it could be quite involved.

[This message has been edited by PD (edited 03 August 2001).]

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Sam
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posted 03 August 2001 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sam   Click Here to Email Sam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not yet having had any formal training in ISO 14001 I find this site to be very helpful. Also I find myself referring constantly to the ISO 14000 series of standards; ISO 14004 is particularly helpful.
Para 4.3.3.2 of ISO 14004 provides a description of EMS documentation; everyone here appears to give basically the same description.
Being new at this, I guess my question would be, If it is a summary or roadmap of the system, why is it placed in the middle of the standard, instead of at the beginning?
Also we sre having our pre-assessment next month, if anyone has any pointers please pass them on. Thanks

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Randy
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From:Barstow, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 1999

posted 03 August 2001 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randy   Click Here to Email Randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just make sure that procedures are followed. If a procedure states this or that will be done......do it!!

Take a good hard look and start trashing what you don't need or use. Get rid of redundancies and un-necessary crap.

Have good solid document control.

If you already have 9K in place don't waste time writing procedures that already exist (document control, corrective action, etc.). Adopt as much as possible. Reference already existing documents.

Keep procedures simple. Remember "easy to read means easy to implement".

Develop your communications (external as well as internal). COMMUNICATE!!!!!

Make sure everyone knows the essence of your Environmental Policy (Protect, Comply, Improve). Remember all the other words in the policy are gobblety goop.

People need to know the Significant Aspects and what they as individuals can do to improve on them. They also need to know the Aspects related to their specific job.

Have good solid Objectives and Targets. Have Targets you can quantify (chart or graph). Remember "If it can be measured, it can be managed". Don't be ambiguous.

Make sure everyone is on board. Implementing and maintaining an EMS requires everybody to be involved. It can't be done half-a--ed.

Advertise your successes to keep management and employees aware of your EMS efforts. Document benefits, no matter how small they may seem at the time. As this list grows, so will EMS support.

I guess that does it for now.

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by Randy (edited 03 August 2001).]

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PD
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posted 04 August 2001 04:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're quite right Sam - it would make more sense to put it at the start - as it would make more sense to delete the reference to training records from 4.5.3 and put the requirement for such records back into 4.4.2

I can only offer the following explanation:

ISO is based in Geneva which is in the middle of Europe which itself is sandwiched on one side by US and on the other by Asia. Given that Europeans consider themselves to be the start point of all culture and art, it makes perfect sense to put the start point of 14001 in the middle of the document.

Seriously...who knows! There are, I think 70 odd countries represented on the technical committee responsible for drafting 14001 (I stand corrected) and the drafting process is one of compromise after compromise.

I personally think 14001 is a better document than 9001:2000 which I find repetitive and disjointed.

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